Each week, Sporting News will run down five of the biggest stories in the world of professional wrestling.
Shawn Michaels vs. AJ Styles at WrestleMania?
Not too many people are thrilled with the WWE’s decision to have AJ Styles square off against Shane McMahon come WrestleMania 33. Apparently, the company had someone else in mind to face the “Phenomenal One" —Shawn Michaels.
Michaels revealed on The Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast that he was asked about the match and turned it down.
I mean, I could have had that match. They did not have an opponent for AJ at WrestleMania. It was just something 'hey, we don't have anybody to work with him and everybody would like to see you guys, are you interested?' And I said 'look, I wish that young man was here 10 years ago, man. I honestly do. I think he's very talented.'
Michaels, now 51, has been retired for seven years but that hasn’t stopped the fans clamoring for one more match. And there’s nodoubt that they would have stolen the show either.
Mick Foley fired as Raw GM
Monday’s show started with Foley reading a prepared statement apologizing to Stephanie McMahon and Triple H before stating that he would be taking a leave of absence.
But the "Hardcore Legend" couldn’t stomach it and went off before McMahon confronted him. It was inevitable at that point what was going to happen:
— WWE (@WWE) March 21, 2017
Foley was great in the role, standing up to authority figures and heels and challenging an underdog in Sami Zayn. His exit was expected as he will be undergoing hip surgery in the near future.
Jim Cornette to induct the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
Cornette summed it up well when he tweeted about his return to the WWE:
Wear your winter clothes to Florida! A cold snap is headed towards Hell! https://t.co/VRYKu9VeiB
— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) March 20, 2017
The always outspoken Cornette was the perfect choice to induct the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express into the WWE Hall of Fame. As the tennis racket-wielding manager of their biggest rival — the Midnight Express — no one has seen Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson more up close and personal and can properly share why they deserve the honor.
Kudos to the WWE for the nod, considering that Cornette has been a vocal critic of the company for years and this should be on the most memorable moments at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony.
Shibata wins New Japan Cup
There is a new challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as Katsuyori Shibata defeated Bad Luck Fale in the finals of the 16-man tournament and win the New Japan Cup.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) March 21, 2017
Shibata had his choice of which championship he would challenge for and this was a no-brainer: He will square off against Kazuchika Okada on April 9 at Sakura Genesis for the top prize in New Japan.
It was an impressive tournament for Shibata who had to go through Minoru Suzuki, Juice Robinson and Tomohiro Ishii to get to the finals. New Japan has been working hard to create new stars and hopes that Shibata can be successfully added to the main event mix.
Jim Ross family tragedy
Our deepest condolences go out to WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross who tragically lost his wife, Jan, this week after she was struck by a car while riding her Vespa.
Jan suffered multiple skull fractures when she was thrown from her vehicle and was unable to come out of a medically induced coma.
The couple had been together since 1991 when they met while she working as aflight attendant.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim and his family.